Postmates Plus hoping to dominate food delivery

Ronny Kerr · March 31, 2016 · Short URL:

With restaurants as the majority of participating merchants, new program threatens other food tech

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If you find yourself using Postmates often enough, it might just make sense to sign up for their new monthly subscription.

At least that’s the idea behind the newly launched Postmates Plus Unlimited, a service just launched by the local delivery company today. The service, which will cost users $9.99 per month (with no cancellation rules), comes with a few perks.

Most importantly, orders over $30 from one of Postmates’ Plus merchants will always be delivered for free.

That’s a big deal that’s causing a lot of people to say the service is going after Amazon Prime Now and Google Express, which is valid. As customers get more and more accustomed to being able to order seemingly any item at any time and receive it instantly, delivery service providers are doing their best to hook the market.

But there’s another big space where Postmates overlaps: the food delivery space.

While it isn’t a pure food delivery company like DoorDash or Instacart, it certainly places a heavy focus on restaurants. The list of San Francisco merchants participating in Postmates Plus, for example, is just a long menu of restaurants, from Frjtz and Little Griddle to Taqueria Dos Amigos and Rhea's Cafe.

In fact, you wouldn’t even know that anything beyond restaurants was a part of the program unless you read far enough into Postmates’ announcement to see that American Apparel was also a participating merchant. When I reached out to the company, a spokesperson confirmed this:

Right now, restaurants are the majority. American Apparel is a Plus partner and we have a few smaller companies in SF. We're really moving now into the commerce space, so there will be a lot more choice coming soon.

I’ve asked for a full list of participating merchants to see precisely how skewed Postmates is toward food delivery.

It’s worth pointing out that the newly announced Postmates Plus Unlimited service comes with a couple other perks. For example, Postmates says they won’t tack additional service fees onto orders, so customers pay whatever an item costs in-store. Also, the company says these orders will always be “instantly accepted” and will “never surge,” giving the orders automatic priority.

Postmates also announced today that it is now processing one million orders per month.

Amazon Prime costs customers $99 per year, meaning it’s about $20 cheaper than Postmates’ offering. Amazon Prime Now is free for those customers in a two-hour delivery window, but if you want your delivery in one hour it costs $7.99 per order.

Similarly priced, Google Express costs $95 per year or $9.99 per month.

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